Time to cut out the kisses

How do you sign off your e-mails?

Cheers? Best wishes?

They’re acceptable . . . if you’re e-mailing a relative, friend or close colleague.

However, when e-mailing someone you don’t know that well – say an employee of your bank – perhaps you sign off formally with Yours Faithfully or Best Regards?

Here’s a tip. You’ll increase your chances of obtaining a bank loan by signing, “Yours Grovellingly”. Don’t laugh. It worked for me.

Here’s another tip – for my male readers. The allegations of inappropriate behaviour (and much worse) pouring out of – and tainting – Hollywood, the BBC and Westminster have created the first ripples of what could well be a long-awaited sea change in attitudes and behaviour between men and women.

This has happened over a matter of weeks and, since those first allegations against a famous movie mogul, it’s gathered momentum like an express train hurtling down a mountain side.

So, gentlemen, from now on it’s probably unwise to sign any e-mail to the opposite sex with an ‘x’ – unless it’s to your girlfriend, wife or mother.

Given the horrendous accounts of men in powerful positions taking advantage of young women, my suggestion might sound trivial, especially if you’ve never ended an e-mail with an ‘x’ at the bottom, something which men and women have been doing for years.

It’s accepted shorthand between people who know each other well and doesn’t mean you’re sending out an actual kiss to the recipient.

But to prevent any misunderstanding, I’ve stopped doing it completely.

I wouldn’t want to make any woman feel uncomfortable or think, “This is a bit creepy!”

So, if you’re one of the few ladies I’ve sent e-mails to in the past that ended with a ‘x’, the next one you receive won’t.

Don’t be offended and don’t blame me. Blame Hollywood, the BBC and Westminster.

‘Tis the season to watch out for personal property

I’m truly devastated. Following another long day, I came home late last night only to find all the doors and windows open and everything stolen . . .

What kind of sick person does that to someone else’s Advent Calendar?

Did I get you there?

But how would you feel if your home had been broken into, which at this time of year is something that happens to so many.

Cars, sheds and homes are targeted throughout the run-up to Christmas as so many of us take our personal security for granted.

Being the victim of crime can have a devastating effect on us and the police tell us to keep all valuables locked up and out of sight. Good advice.

However, most of us only practice this after we have been affected by such a crime.

And another thing. If your Christmas tree lights work the first time you plug them in . . . there is something definitely wrong with them!

It’s not normal, it wouldn’t be Christmas without five hours spent trying to untangle them and another three hours testing each bulb to see which one is causing the others not to work!

Yanks a lot – but no thanks!

As loyal readers know, I like to take a detached look at events and situations and slowly filter them through my brain until they end up on this page.

Most recently, the events in Zimbabwe made me wonder if Mugabe might have roots in the North Of England because his name spelt backwards is ‘E-Ba-Gum!’

Moving on . . .

In the 1960s, when the likes of The Beatles and Gerry and The Pacemakers created hysteria among American teenagers, they called it ‘The British Invasion’.

Many years later, the Yanks are having their revenge because Britain has been crushed by the ‘American invasion’ of our culture, traditions and eating habits.

I’m not referring to American films, books, comics or music which provide wonderful entertainment.

However . . .

Recently I mentioned my disappointed that Halloween – and its two sweet-stealing offspring Trick and Treat – has elbowed Guy Fawkes Night to one side and taken over as ‘The’ big celebration of the Autumn.  Actually, to say I’m ’disappointed’ is an understatement.

Every October 31st my face turns bright purple with rage – very useful when I want to scare ‘Trick Or Treaters’ away from my front door. The UK has been subjected to further ‘Americanisation’ with the unnecessary arrival of the School Prom – once only seen on US TV shows or in films.

British children now demand prom suits, expensive dresses . . . even limos!

Who allowed this to happen?

I want names and addresses!

There’s more . . .

Although we’re in the middle of buying Christmas presents, decorations, wrapping paper etc., this hasn’t prevented some shops from selling food for ‘Thanksgiving’ – an American tradition as important over there as our Christmas dinner.

But we’re not Americans and retailers should stop trying to turn us into the 51st State purely to squeeze more money out of people, many of whom will struggle to pay for Christmas. Have a nice day!

At least we have freedom of speech to air our annoyances

This weeks’ column was written while waiting in two airports, Cardiff and Dublin.

Last weekend, I had the honour of kicking off the festive activities in the heart of Dublin, Ireland.

What surprised me was the fact that it took me longer to drive to Cardiff Wales Airport than the flight from Cardiff to Dublin itself.

Forty five minutes in the air and touchdown at Dublin International Airport – impressive, I thought.

But what was more impressive was the cost. The return flight worked out to be less than £75. How does that work then?

Answers on a postcard please.

The world seems smaller these days and more accessible to many, yet not all modes of transport are affordable to everyone.

My research shows that at certain times of the day, a return train ticket to London would mean taking out a second mortgage. Is it any wonder that there are so many cars on the road?

I’m trying hard to be upbeat and positive at this time of year. However, there are so many things that challenge my thinking and develop into an annoyance. This could be an age thing!

The plus side is that the frustration often gets aired in my weekly column and (from the letters, emails and feedback on social media) it seems the same things annoy you, too!

Freedom of speech is a wonderful privilege at times.